Showing posts from February, 2014

The New Front Door

"Just a have to go to the front door!" The little girl disappeared behind the corner of the small house.  We could hear the key rattling around in the lock.  It took a long time to get the door open.  A few folks were impatient at the long wait in the hot sun.  "The door is new, " I explained, "and it will be a great honor for us to come in through the new front door." In fact, the whole house was new.  For fifteen years the mother had lived in a tiny, ramshackle home made of corrugated tin and cardboard and plastic.  Every time it rained, the mother and her little girls and everything they owned got wet.  The home had been constructed on part of a tiny lot by an older man who cared for the mother and her daughters like a father would.   Because it was built on a shared lot, the home had not received any improvements over the years.  Finally, after fifteen years, possession of the property trumped the legal issues and plans were made to im

Mary of the Angels

She has a wound on her leg.  It is covered in white gauze, taped around the edges.  She sat in front of me on a plastic chair. My job was to run the mesa final  - the final table.  Most of the time we had a little charla  or conversation as a group.  The first activity was to go over a few educational papers which we gave out to every family:  a rehydration solution recipe to help when someone has severe vomiting or diarrhea, suggestions for home remedies for constipation and stomach problems, a page about the difference between a cold and the flu, and coloring pages for kids about keeping themselves and the earth clean.  Then we went over the contents of the family kits which we had assembled for each head of household.  Basics:  toothbrushes and toothpaste, bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, eye drops, adult acetaminophen and a few crayons.  "Do you have children or youth living in your home?"  If so, I added a second package of acetaminophen or a bottle of liquid acetaminop

Children Come First

At my home church one of the core values -- in fact, the first core value -- is "Children Come First."  In a congregation which is majority children and youth, the primacy of ministry programs for young people is a given.  We also intentionally raise youth up as leaders, not only within the programs in which they participate, but also within the leadership structure of the congregation as a whole. Over the last few hours, I have been thinking a great deal about this core value of children coming first.  Yesterday, we spent a good chunk of the day coordinating with our Salvadoran Lutheran Church team leaders for this year's Mission of Healing.  We met at Fe y Esperanza, the former refugee camp turned agricultural center, gathering in the sanctuary of the church there with church leaders, congregation members and community representatives.  We had just about completed our review of the different healing areas (spiritual, medical, reflexology, HIV education, children's